Two-thirds of the world’s populations inhabit buildings made of earth. Straw bale buildings have proven to be as durable as other types of buildings; they have better fire ratings than standard construction, great insulation ratings and are resistant to rodents and other pests (including wolves). Also, straw is an annual renewable resource!
The straw bale shed is a physical demonstration of an environmentally friendly building. Each material used in this shed was chosen to minimize impact to the environment during its harvesting and manufacturing, and to provide the highest levels of energy efficiency over the lifespan of the building. Materials were purchased locally and where possible, recycled products were bought or obtained.
- This shed is the first registered straw bale building in the city of Toronto.
- The shed is constructed with a light weight framing system and straw bale infill, enclosed with plaster on both interior and exterior.
- The straw bales were locally harvested and provide insulation levels of R-40.
- The “truth window” allow visitors to take a sneak peak into the wall system and see the straw bales inside the shed walls.
- Recycled material was used wherever possible. The windows are second hand, purchased from the Habitat for humanity restore, the handles of the shed were obtained from a dead tree obtained from the property and the framework of the truth window is a recycled antique.
- The shed was constructed through two weekend hands-on workshops where participants learned techniques in straw bale and earth building. Many of these students have gone on to build their own straw bale structures.
- An extensive green roof has been installed to minimize the urban heat island effect, provide a habitable landscape, reduce storm water runoff, and to protect the roof membrane for longer life by blocking harmful UV and reducing temperature fluctuation.
The roof consists of a vapour control layer, waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, filter membrane, growing media (soil mix) and plants. The vegetation on this roof has been planted by Ryerson University students.